Wednesday 30 October 2013

Restroom Chronicles

One of my close friends loves to visit the restrooms in high-end hotels. The interiors, accessories like moisturizers, scented candles and super soft towels thrill her senses and she ends up spending a lot of time than she intends in the room. For the past month and a half, I have been trapezing across four states - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa and Kerala and like in every trip, restrooms are something that can make or mar a trip for me. It's the memory of the restrooms that linger longer in my mind and I always tend to judge a trip by the restrooms. I know that it does sound corny but then the matters of the nature calls are definitely important for all of us, I assume.

I was pleasantly surprised to find clean and well maintained toilets when I travelled in an overnight bus from Bangalore to Goa. The bus stopped at two places en-route and thankfully both the places were clean and the taps had running water in copious amounts.

This time while travelling in the Kerala Sampark Kuchuvelli Express (12218) from Goa to Kerala, I noticed that the toilets were brand new bio-toilets. Now I didn't know what bio-toilets were at that time but a little bit of googling gave me this answer:

The night soil from commode enters into the bio-tank, where the inoculums are stored and gets decomposed by the bacteria. The decomposed human soil will next enter into chlorine tank and to get purified. Finally, the out put will be water and gas . . .

Well, I was happy that some amends have been made by the railways to improve their toilets and this after how many years! I just hope that the people don't misuse this and wreck the well-intentioned efforts of the Indian Railways which has earned the nickname of being the world's largest open toilet. This trip saved my Indian Railways toilet anxiety. So as you have rightly imagined, I slept in peace and got up smiling.

 I often wonder why people taking the air-conditioned coaches do not think of keeping the toilets clean and flushing them after each use. There is a GREAT divide between treating personal and public space judiciously. While people ensure that their homes are well kept, they don't think the same of public spaces and especially places like the restrooms which are used for the most personal act - ridding the body of its toxins and waste!

Kalpana Sharma, an independent journalist, columnist and media consultant, in one of her articles "Educating India," says that, "The Annual Status of Education Report, 2009 points out yet again that what stands between rural girls and a good education is often basic facilities like transport and proper toilets." I wonder how many of our citizens take this point seriously. And clean toilets are always something that a woman traveller looks forward to when she travels as she cannot shamelessly pee wherever she wants like most of the men in this country do!
The Annual Status of Education Report, 2009 points out yet again that what stands between rural girls and a good education is often basic facilities like transport and proper toilets. - See more at:
The Annual Status of Education Report, 2009 points out yet again that what stands between rural girls and a good education is often basic facilities like transport and proper toilets. - See more at:

The Annual Status of Education Report, 2009 points out yet again that what stands between rural girls and a good education is often basic facilities like transport and proper toilets. - See more at:
So, what are your restroom chronicles, dear reader?

Image: Internet

Saturday 12 October 2013

Has blogging become a tad jaded for me, I wonder

This post is supposedly my Blogoversary post, a fifth anniversary of  my Meandering in the whirling world of words and thoughts! But today instead of rejoicing at my journey and gloating over my posts, I choose to think aloud on some aspects of blogging. I see this post as a note to myself in which I strive to answer some questions that have been occupying my mind off late.

My writing has taken a lull in the past year and half, precisely after I got married. Though I choose not to blame marriage and the usual impediments of time, I cannot deny that my priorities have been mismanaged by me. I haven't figured how to devote a particular time of the day for blogging and commenting. Until I got married, time and space was in my control and I could blog whenever a thought struck me. I didn't have to record mundane but curious thoughts - I just wrote them and published a blog post. Alas! I had naively assumed that the scenario would be the same throughout and that I would be able to manage the same effortlessly. But then I realised that my meanderings were the most active when I was kneading dough or cutting veggies and I could not just take off to posting and publishing those thoughts just when they strike. And by the time, I completed my chores, the fleeting thoughts had passed. No matter how much I coaxed and cajoled, they never came back. And when I did find the time to sit down and open my blog, I would be at a loss for posts that I almost always end up closing the blank page and resort to reading other blogs and commenting.

But don't think that I have lost my interest for something that once was my main source of joy. Blogging's initial years were like those of a heady romance when the senses are in rapt attention and words gallivant about begging to be strung into sentences and meaningful phrases. Even commenting was done in gusto and reading blogs were something that I looked forward to with bated breath. The blogs were few and writing genuine. Today, I am bombarded with many bloggers who are fun and feisty with their words but alas! they are so many. How can a single me do justice to so many brilliant works! I try my best inspite of a gnawing thought that I have missed out on someone's writing for a long time. I guess that's precisely what happens when heady love blossoms into marriage! The initial years' pleasure come about quite spontaneously and as the years go on, the whole exercise becomes an effort because one is surrounded by so many aspects of life that are equally time-consuming and demanding. I guess one has to learn the fine art of balance be it marriage or blogging.

As I complete five years in the world of blogging, I look back and question myself and my priorities. I wonder whether I should tweak my schedules and try to be smart with setting deadlines and goals when it comes to doing some of my favourite tasks which help me unwind as well as rewind. I hope this post is a remainder of the beautiful world of blogging which has always thrilled and enthralled me.

All said and done, I raise a toast to Blogging and my fellow bloggers who have been patient with me and have not abandoned me inspite of me not posting as regularly as I used to. Thanks for the insightful comments. Reading your comments and thoughts has always invigorated me and brought a smile to my face. 

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

Monday 7 October 2013

And thus was born a Grammar Nazi . . .

Believe me, I was never someone who took exceptional care of grammar esp the apostrophe when I was jotting down in my wee journal or writing in my blog earlier. My its and yours followed their own mind and often my number and tense was havoc! I wonder how those changed. Did I become conscious after reading a few writing blogs or did Facebook's self-proclaimed grammar nazis trigger the urge to check and recheck my its and it's. No, no, it wasn't Facebook. I now remember. It was my Supervisor who drilled and coerced me in turns to refine my crude ways of writing. The rest was done by the writing blogs that I had (wisely) subscribed to while gallivanting the world of blogs and bloggers. But even then, I wasn't a grammar nazi. I was a learner who was relearning and unlearning few tricks of the trade. 

In case, I forget, I was also teaching. And while one imparts knowledge, one should be sure and right of certain things atleast, I reckon. I might not be the teacher who gets everything right but my students had to learn some fundamentals of the English language and there it became imperative that I train them in certain rules of the language and writing was one of them. I consciously started spelling out your and you're; its and it's, in my mind and double-checked whenever I wrote something on the board. Of course, writing in English is more than their and there but still these were some items which were always confusing and largely misspelt. Gradually, my writing started improving. When one's Supervisor drills plus one teaches plus one reads fantastic writing blogs plus one writes often, the end result is something good. Ah, how I did I forget to add voracious reading to the list. That too helped a lot.  And all the while, I was STILL not a grammar nazi.

Then Facebook started popping up these pictures and memes and all of a sudden, there was a gross turnover of self-proclaimed grammar nazis. Sadly, even I joined the tribe, I reckon. A was correcting status messages, S was lamenting the fact that poorly-written blogs are getting popular, D was posting grammar memes on her wall and finally here we are - A group of grammar nazis screaming loud and ranting out the fact that grammar is dying a slow but sure death. And there were few who even challenged the fact by replying 'k' and 'u' and other funny answers in response to the grammar nazi's frustrated pleas.

Facebook and blogging, along with showcasing our penchant for imagination and narrating events, also brings to light the habitual grammatical skirmishes which are often unknown to the writer him/herself thus giving a field day to the grammar nazis. And why is it that the grammar nazi is only passionate about its and it's and your and you're. Is that all that is there to grammar? Grammar is much more than misspelt words! No memes point out to awkward phrasing of words, tautological errors, long sentences, non sequitur lines and so on. There is much more than what meets the eye. But grammar nazis don't venture beyond a point. Why? Simple. No one understands the errors and thus begins the great argument - English is not my mother-tongue. If English is not your mother-tongue then why do you attempt to write in an alien language! Well, I can go on and on with this but I shall pause.

So, the conclusion: Without poor writers, a grammar nazi cannot exist. I still feel that I am not as competent a weaver of words as certain others are but I certainly take care of my you're and your when I write. This ensures that I am safe from the grammar nazi within and outside of me!

So, what say reader? Are you one of us or them?

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

An update: It takes one to spot one and one of my favourite reader/commenter Govind pointed out a glaring error in the post. I thank him for being a discerning and sharp reader. Salute boss!

Thursday 3 October 2013

Birthday reflections and ruminations

When I was a dreamy teenager, 30 used to be a big number, that was still far far away. Imagination and things around led me to believe that at 30 one had a home, bubbly children plus a car and a fantastic husband! Well, I couldn't have blamed my teenage fanciful mind! And what did I wish for - the same aforementioned things. I was not one of those teenagers who had dreams to have a high-flying career or to explore an untrodden path - all I knew and wished was for a happy family complete with a dog and car! I didn't see beyond the usual. I wasn't even exposed to anything else.

And, today, standing at 34, I realise that life has so much to offer. A family and a dog are also happiness factors but there are other things that one can aspire for. I blame it on education. I was all sane and meek, but engaging minds and wise teachers shook my aspirations and beliefs. I can't be more thankful to them today. My paths slowly started walking in a slightly different trajectory. I learnt that there are other uncharted paths that are more interesting and adventurous and I chose to get lost. I am happy that those paths showed me sights and thoughts that were challenging and offbeat. I explored ideas that were safely hidden from me and was able to flirt with things that were hitherto unaccustomed to my small mind.

I learnt to lose myself in books and tread along the lines of the character in the tomes I read and loved. Thinking with the author, my mind opened to different worldviews. I was weaned out of prejudice, gender fixations, mainstream hogwash and media's appropriation of the mind. Education liberates and forces oneself to leave the comfort zone and walk out and that is what precisely happened to me. Inspite of that, there are some issues which I have not come to terms with!

I am also thankful and grateful to the wonderful virtual and offline friends that Providence enabled me to meet. They have enriched and educated me in ways that I cannot imagine. I have also realised that friends are friends, offline or online - They affect me the same way and teach me important lessons which I otherwise could be deprived of. And along the journey, I have come to know that each age has its own charm and inspite of growing old, I grow richer and bolder in experience.

Here's raising a toast to 34!

Thanks for the company, dear reader. I cherish and treasure you and the lessons that you have willingly imparted.

Image 1, 2 and 3: Internet


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